(Hit? JStrlj Nerljani $allnj Mb 3ta PnBatbtltti^B FORT FRASER rol: Extracts from P "THE NEW (iVRDEN OF /y/^ > CANADA." y—ilJS^ fl£- A - Talbot, Author. The extracts selected refer to in- cidents, localities, etc., in the Rich Nechaco Valley, of which Fort Fraser is the centre. Since the publication of this book the Station ques- tion has been settled, and Fort Fraser lots are now sold with a guarantee that the Railroad Station will be located where indicated on the original plans. RIVER STEAMERS SODA CREEK TO FORT FRASER AND TETE JAUNE CACHE TO FORT FRASER After establishing shallow-draft boats on the Fraser between Soda Creek and Fort George, other voyages of discovery were undertaken up the various other rivers. The smallest and shallowest-draft vessel was employed for this exploration work, and it succeeded in making its way up the Fraser as far as Tete Jaune Cache, ascend- ed the Nechaco to Fort Fraser, a matter of 1 20 miles, and also the Stuart River to Fort St. James on Stuart Lake, 1 39 miles. These investigations conclusively proved that there are about 1 000 miles of navigable waters available to shallow- draft steamers in the interior of British Columbia which can be exploited profitably. FRUIT CULTURE Is profitable. So far as the Nechaco Val- ley is concerned, I can emphatically say that it possesses great possibilities. Cher- ries and apples appear to do excellently, as do also gooseberries, currants and general ground fruits. VEGETABLE GARDENING This settler had taken over a quarter of a section — 160 acres. Yet from his own account he could not quarrel with his 1 i 9. n ^55/ luck. The previous year he had raised two acres of potatoes, and the crop had netted him £200. This year he was reckoning on as large, if not a larger finan- cial return from the same source, since prices, due to greater demand, were higher. The astonishing point was that he had not tilled the soil. This was just a thick de- posit of decayed vegetable matter and al- luvium, for in the distant past his farm was at the bottom of a large lake, occu- pying the whole of the depression known as the Nechaco Valley. This light, nour- ishing topsoil was so soft that one could plunge one's arm up to the armpit without meeting the subsoil. All that was neces- sary was to make the drills, push the tubers in with the fingers, bank up, and then let them grow. A little farther on we came upon an- other settlement where about the same acreage was under cultivation. In this case the crops were of a more varied char- acter, coinciding very closely with an Eng- lish kitchen garden or mixed farm. There were patches of turnips, carrots, parsnips, lettuces, cabbages, etc. The white turnips had grown to an immense size, those we pulled up ranging up to 10 inches in cir- cumference, beautifully solid from rind to core, and as palatable as any English- 2 grown root of this species. The carrots were long, measuring about 1 8 inches from crown to tip, well formed, free from wood- iness or fibre, sound, and of excellent color. The parsnips seemed to be equally good, though those were early days to judge this root; still, they measured about three inches across the crown. The beets also were doing well. The lettuces were large and succulent and though not possessing the crispness of the English variety, were yet of excellent flavor. The cabbages were large, the hearts well turned in, and of good shape. The new settler in these parts has certainly one advantage over his Brit- ish confrere. He is not pestered with worms, caterpillars, and other plagues which wreak such havoc in the field or garden, while the lightness and richness of the soil conduce to remarkable yield with a mini- mum of effort, after clearing is accom- plished. THE NECHACO RIVER Under normal conditions, this river, ow- ing to its crystal clearness, has a hue of deep prussian blue. WILD GRASSES If the luxuriance of the wild vegeta- tion offers any criterion, then farming in this territory presents incalculably attract- 3 ive possibilities. The natural grasses grow to a tropical height and density. Sugar cane grass at seven feet high, red top at six feet, brome grass five and one-half feet, and timothy topping five feet, were quite common. The vetches also are prolific, be- ing found in such dense masses as greatly to impede rapid progress. The growth is strangely diversified. SOIL AND RAINFALL The Nechaco Valley proper is in reality an old lake bed. The soil is a thick de- posit of silt, in some places running to 40 feet in depth, with a clayey subsoil. The silt is freely impregnated with thoroughly decomposed vegetable substance. The rainfall is just sufficient to stimulate growth to perfection, the temperature is equable, and the climate is about the same as that prevailing in Central Europe, which is only natural, seeing that the latitude is about the same as that of the south of England. FODDER FOR STOCK There appears to be no need for the pioneer to have any anxiety as to food for his stock during winter in view of these bounteous wild supplies, effort being con- fined merely to the cutting and gathering of the succulent, tall, well-developed grasses. POSSIBILITY OF GROWING GRAIN The Canadian says that where "four inches of grass will grow, wheat will grow, and where wheat can be raised any pro- duce will thrive." In face of this enunci- ation, the Nechaco Valley, with its wild hay topping five feet, should be a land of plenty. ALFALFA PROFITABLE Another pioneer has seeded his holding to alfalfa. His industry was most hand- somely rewarded, for he had cropped four times in the year. This was a new de- velopment which testified in a striking man- ner to the amazing fertility of the soil and the congeniality of the climate, while it had sent the value of that pioneer's land to high-water mark, it being easily worth £20 or $100.00 an acre. THE NECHACO LAKES AND STREAMS— A SPORTSMAN'S PARADISE TACHIC LAKE While the pack-train was loading up for resumption of the journey early the next morning, we spied a dugout spinning over the lake towards us, and the agitation of the water showed that the oarsman was having some fine sport. When he pulled 5 in he held up a prize and yelled: "Say, frien's, what d'yar think o' this? Bully, ain't it, eh?" displaying a fine, sleek, rain- bow-colored, glittering mass of scales. A silver salmon trout, he called it, and it was a beauty, turning the scales at three pounds. "I come out ev'ry mornin' before break- fast an' hook one o' these," he went on. "Why, that lake's full o' them. Say, come an' have a throw." Presently we saw a vicious tug and an instant later there was a bright flash in the air as the fish made a leap of about ten feet. The fight- ing and plunging went on for about ten minutes, then the dugout came in with a sharp shoot with another quivering speci- men lying in the bottom. When weighed it tipped the beam at three and a half pounds, and they were two as fine speci- mens of the trout family as one could de- sire to land. Our American visitor said they were "fair devils" when hooked, and would often jump clean over the canoe, while their rushes made the pike's move- ments a mere tortoise crawl in comparison. Lett confessed that his catch had given him a lively five minutes, accustomed though he was to all classes of fish found in Can- adian river waters. Our affable American informed us that he had taken over a section — a square mile 6 — on the shore of this lake, and that his son had bought a like area of land just near us. "I came up hyar last year, and I war so impressed with th' country that I'm goin' to make it my home. I guess this is just about God's country, right enough! My wheat farms are down in Dakota, but I'll clear out down thar, be- cause I can't tear myself away from this spot. Is the land good? Well, I should smile! You would not catch me clearin' the forest if it warn't. How about winter? Well, last winter I worked about in my shirt sleeves. It is not near so cold as it is down Dakota way. We didn't have two feet of snow." FORT FRASER TOWNSITE AND ADJACENT ARABLE LANDS It was about noon on Sunday when we came to a straight cut through the poplars, down which ran the telegraph wire to the river's banks. The descent was for more than a mile, and so easy as to be almost imperceptible. At the bottom of the dip the trail gave a short wind and we were on the river at the ferry, which we took across the Nechaco to Fort Fraser. The Nechaco at this point makes one of those sudden, big, sweeping bends, for which British Columbia rivers are famous, 7 source of the waterway being on the slopes of the distant, rugged Cascades, fringing the Pacific Coast, and draining in all an immense tract of country, of which about 640,000 acres are arable. Lake Stuart offers great attractions for agriculture. I met one or two pioneers who had been cruising through this ter- ritory and who had made Fort Fraser on their return journey south. Their reports were glowing, and they were emphatic in their opinion that it is impossible to exagger- ate the agrarian potentialities of the Lake Stuart country. This latter country, extending from Fort Fraser to the eastern side of Stuart Lake, is richly wooded, poplar (cottonwood) pre- dominating, but this growth is denser than that which prevails in the Nechaco Valley, the large, open flats of which are so at- tractive to the settler. Still, around Stuart Lake and Stuart River, to the confluence of the latter with the Upper Nechaco, there are nearly 350,000 acres of excellent farm- ing land, the possibilities of which, after clearing, are reflected by the varied and prime produce which the industrious factor of Fort St. James successfully raises year after year, comprising the usual range of vegetables and bush fruits. Linguistic Press o^g&b Vancouver, B. C.